U.S.-Led Troops Seize IS Terrorist in Iraq Helicopter Raid

ERBIL, Iraq (Reuters) -

Troops from a U.S.-led coalition landed a helicopter in northern Iraq and seized at least one Islamic State terrorist from a vehicle, three witnesses and two Kurdish security sources said.

The force quickly took off again with their captive on Sunday afternoon, the sources told Reuters.

“It all happened in less than 10 minutes,” said a witness of the raid in Badush district, around 20 km (12 miles) northwest of Mosul, the largest Iraqi city still in the hands of the Islamic State terror group.

A spokesman for the U.S. coalition declined to confirm or deny the reports.

A news agency that supports Islamic State said the terrorists had thwarted the raid.

Iraqi authorities say they will retake Mosul this year. But an army offensive launched last month south of the city has been put on hold until more forces arrive to hold ground.

The United States announced last December it was deploying a new force of special operations troops to Iraq to conduct raids against Islamic State there and in neighboring Syria.

The terror group’s second-in-command and other senior leaders were likely killed last month by an air strike after a U.S. special forces’ helicopter was fired on from the ground.